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Change in immigration norms drives more citizenship applications

Billy Idol recently became a citizen of the United States. The 63-year-old rock star, originally from England, was sworn in at a Los Angeles ceremony in November. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services tweeted, "it's a nice day for a naturalization ceremony."

How does asylum work in the United States?

With thousands of men, women and children headed toward our Southern border, many will be seeking asylum in the United States. This is an entirely legal process, and the U.S. pledged in the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to accept eligible asylum seekers and a share of qualifying refugees. That treaty, commonly called the 1951 Refugee Convention, also prohibits the U.S. from returning refugees and asylum seekers to the countries they fled from.

DHS issues final rule on what aid counts as a 'public charge'

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposal that would have impacted many immigrants seeking admission to the U.S., wishing to extend a nonimmigrant stay or applying for green cards. Immigrants engaging in those immigration activities are required to prove that they won't be an economic burden on American society -- a "public charge," as the law terms it. The DHS proposal sought to clarify which public benefits could count against immigrants trying to prove they won't be a public charge.

Federal court: Grants can't be withheld from sanctuary cities

The Trump administration's plan to withhold criminal justice grants from sanctuary jurisdictions has now been permanently blocked. Federal judges in Chicago, Philadelphia and now San Francisco have ruled that the Justice Department cannot place immigration-related conditions on the grants. Moreover, they struck down as unconstitutional a longstanding immigration law, Section 1373 of Title * of the U.S. Code, that appeared to support the administration's position.

DHS: Accepting public benefits will now weigh against immigrants

If you’re applying for a green card, you probably already know that you have to prove you won’t be an economic burden -- a “public charge” on American society. Recently, however, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new proposal that could make it harder for some immigrants to prove that.

USCIS working to remove work authorization from H-4 visa

In August, the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spoke at a Center for Immigration Studies event. The controversial think tank advocates for far less immigration being allowed in the U.S. At the event, the director said that a plan to end work authorizations for H-4 visa holders is still being worked on. Previously, the Department of Homeland Security had estimated it would stop offering the work authorizations in June.

New policy allows USCIS to deny visas and green cards for errors

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced a significant policy change. In the past, when an application for a visa or lawful permanent resident status contained errors, the USCIS adjudicator would issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). This would notify the applicant of a deficiency in their application and give them a chance to address the problem before the application was officially denied.

Wait to process citizenship application grows to a year or more

It's an unfortunate reality that the wait to have a U.S. citizenship application processed can be long. In past years, applications were processed in about four to six months, according to one Bay Area citizenship class instructor. Since the Trump administration began, that wait has grown to between 10 months and a year -- and longer in other big cities with large immigrant populations.

USCIS offers special services for those affected by the wildfires

If you have been affected by the California wildfires this year, you may need immigration help. You may have missed an appointment, lost documents or run into other problems that could affect your immigration status. Don't panic. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides some special immigration services for people affected by unforeseen circumstances, and the California wildfires have been added to the list of covered events.

Business Roundtable decries arbitrary, inconsistent H-1B processing

Dozens of U.S. business leaders, including CEOs at top American companies, recently signed a joint letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They expressed "serious concern" over several Trump administration immigration policies, focusing on those surrounding H-1B visas. The signatories of the joint letter included the heads of Apple, IBM, Salesforce, BlackRock, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase and others.

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